Timeline of space mining

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After ten years of negotiations between nearly 100 nations, the Outer Space Treaty opened for signature on January 27, 1966. It entered into force as the constitution for outer space on October 10, 1967. The Outer Space Treaty was well received; it was ratified by ninety-six nations and signed by an additional twenty-seven states. The outcome has been that the basic foundation of international space law consists of five (arguably four) international space treaties, along with various written resolutions and declarations. The main international treaty is the Outer Space Treaty of 1967; it is generally viewed as the "Constitution" for outer space.

The Moon Agreement was signed in December 18, 1979 as part of the United Nations Charter and it entered into force in 1984 after of a five state ratification consensus procedure, agreed upon by the members of the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). The Moon Treaty explicitly designates the Moon and its natural resources as part of the Common Heritage of Mankind.

Legal regimes of some countries

Some nations are beginning to promulgate legal regimes for extraterrestrial resource extraction. For example, the United States "SPACE Act of 2015"—facilitating private development of space resources consistent with US international treaty obligations—passed the US House of Representatives in July 2015.[1][2] In November 2015 it passed the United States Senate.[3] On 25 November US-President Barack Obama signed the H.R.2262 – U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act into law.[4] The law recognizes the right of U.S. citizens to own space resources they obtain and encourages the commercial exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids. According to the article § 51303 of the law:[5]

A United States citizen engaged in commercial recovery of an asteroid resource or a space resource under this chapter shall be entitled to any asteroid resource or space resource obtained, including to possess, own, transport, use, and sell the asteroid resource or space resource obtained in accordance with applicable law, including the international obligations of the United States

In February 2016, the Government of Luxembourg announced that it would attempt to "jump-start an industrial sector to mine asteroid resources in space" by, among other things, creating a "legal framework" and regulatory incentives for companies involved in the industry.[6][7] By June 2016, it announced that it would "invest more than US$200 million in research, technology demonstration, and in the direct purchase of equity in companies relocating to Luxembourg."[8] In 2017, it became the "first European country to pass a law conferring to companies the ownership of any resources they extract from space", and remained active in advancing space resource public policy in 2018.[9][10]


On April 24, 2012 a plan was announced by billionaire entrepreneurs to mine asteroids for their resources. The company is called Planetary Resources and its founders include aerospace entrepreneurs Eric Anderson and Peter Diamandis. Advisers include film director and explorer James Cameron and investors include Google's chief executive Larry Page and its executive chairman Eric Schmidt. They also plan to create a fuel depot in space by 2020 by using water from asteroids, splitting it to liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen for rocket fuel.

Another similar venture, called Deep Space Industries, was started in 2013 by David Gump, who had founded other space companies. At the time, the company hoped to begin prospecting for asteroids suitable for mining by 2015 and by 2016 return asteroid samples to Earth. Deep Space Industries planned to begin mining asteroids by 2023.

Several organizations have said they are working on asteroid mining, including:

Organisation Type Founding date Comments
Planetoid Mines Corporation Private company
NEO Resource Atlas (NEORA) Private company
Deep Space Industries Private company 2013-01-22 It is acquired on January 1, 2019 by Bradford Space.
Planetary Resources Private company 2009-01-01
Moon Express Private company 2010
Kleos Space Private company
TransAstra Private company
Aten Engineering Private company
Air Space and Beyond (ASB) Private company
OffWorld Private company
Asteroid Mining Corporation Ltd. UK[11] Private company

Meta information on the timeline

Information was initially imported from Asteroid mining.


  1. H.R.2262 – SPACE Act of 2015, accessed 14 September 2015.
  2. Fung, Brian (2015-05-22). "The House just passed a bill about space mining. The future is here.". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  3. American 'space pioneers' deserve asteroid rights, Congress says theguardian.com
  4. Asteroid mining made legal after passing of ‘historic’ space bill in US telegraph.co.uk
  5. "President Obama Signs Bill Recognizing Asteroid Resource Property Rights into Law". planetaryresources.com. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named sn20160206
  7. "Luxembourg plans to pioneer asteroid mining". ABC News. 2016-02-03. Retrieved 2016-02-08. The Government said it planned to create a legal framework for exploiting resources beyond Earth's atmosphere, and said it welcomed private investors and other nations. 
  8. de Selding, Peter B. (2016-06-03). "Luxembourg invests to become the 'Silicon Valley of space resource mining'". SpaceNews. Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  9. "Luxembourg vies to become the Silicon Valley of asteroid mining". 2018-04-16. 
  10. A legal framework for space exploration, 13 July 2017.
  11. "Welcome - Asteroid Mining Corporation". Asteroid Mining Corporation. Retrieved 2017-11-22.